xris
 
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 04:49 am
Swearing and our attention to its effect is most strange in my opinion. Ive just had a private message asking me my opinion on an 18c English book on the subject and if its contents would be appropriate. It made me question my own views on swearing and my double standards of it use.

Up till Victorian times many Anglo Saxon words that were considered vulgar but popular were in regular use. The Victorian prudery made them unacceptable , I wonder why a certain word can cause so much offence but its Latin equivalent not. "You urinating heads really annoy me" " why dont you copulating fools go away"
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kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 06:16 am
@xris,
xris;149533 wrote:
Swearing and our attention to its effect is most strange in my opinion. Ive just had a private message asking me my opinion on an 18c English book on the subject and if its contents would be appropriate. It made me question my own views on swearing and my double standards of it use.

Up till Victorian times many Anglo Saxon words that were considered vulgar but popular were in regular use. The Victorian prudery made them unacceptable , I wonder why a certain word can cause so much offence but its Latin equivalent not. "You urinating heads really annoy me" " why dont you copulating fools go away"


Maybe because they are often intended to cause offense. It is also, I imagine that they are most often used by the ignorant who know no other way of expressing themselves, and they are associated with those people. In any case, since they do cause offense, why use them? Unless, of course, in order to cause offense.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 07:12 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;149554 wrote:
Maybe because they are often intended to cause offense. It is also, I imagine that they are most often used by the ignorant who know no other way of expressing themselves, and they are associated with those people. In any case, since they do cause offense, why use them? Unless, of course, in order to cause offense.


The problem with swearing is its non veiled openness of attitude, precisely opposing the more subtle approach of mockery, regarding the convenient miss interpretation on others thoughts...something that with no doubt you know allot of...
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xris
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 08:36 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;149554 wrote:
Maybe because they are often intended to cause offense. It is also, I imagine that they are most often used by the ignorant who know no other way of expressing themselves, and they are associated with those people. In any case, since they do cause offense, why use them? Unless, of course, in order to cause offense.
Any word in context can cause offence, thats rather a superior attitude to take. Not all words are used to cause offence and many have the strength of their sound. I must be ignorant because I use them constantly. I never go to the toilet for something insignificant and those who cut me up driving are aware of my annoyance. Angle Saxon words were denigrated by this same snobbery , a word is word is blinking word.
0 Replies
 
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 08:57 am
@xris,
xris;149533 wrote:
Swearing and our attention to its effect is most strange in my opinion. Ive just had a private message asking me my opinion on an 18c English book on the subject and if its contents would be appropriate. It made me question my own views on swearing and my double standards of it use.

Up till Victorian times many Anglo Saxon words that were considered vulgar but popular were in regular use. The Victorian prudery made them unacceptable , I wonder why a certain word can cause so much offence but its Latin equivalent not. "You urinating heads really annoy me" " why dont you copulating fools go away"


It's a sign of disrespect meant to provoke. You don't call people you respect a c*ntrag and using less emotional language doesn't produce the same effect because the intention of provocation isn't clear. You wouldn't take it as seriously.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 09:14 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;149582 wrote:
It's a sign of disrespect meant to provoke. You don't call people you respect a c*ntrag and using less emotional language doesn't produce the same effect because the intention of provocation isn't clear. You wouldn't take it as seriously.
But as I just said the majority are not used to cause offence. They have that effect if used in context but not otherwise, the same as allot of words. They are descriptive in most cases, not personal. Its this view of them by indoctrinated standards that interests me. If you use them in certain company they mean very little, in others it causes absolute havoc. Why are they so effective?
0 Replies
 
harlequin phil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:42 pm
@xris,
i apologize for rambling on, but i have thought about this subject a lot....

i try to be as fescennine as i can because, "profanity is the crutch of the illiterate [email protected]#$%^er" and franly, i enjoy it. i can express myself quite well, but it seems more direct and way more fun (and easier, which i like because i am lazy) to insert profanity. i view profanity as the spices in the food of language. a well placed "f" word adds zing and zest, and often (for me) humor.

to me, profanity should only be offensive if used with negative feelings behind it, used to hurt someone. to me, it is the intent behind the words that is important, not the word itself.

i wonder if a group of people used the word "elbow" in the most derisive, hateful, derogatory way as much as they can, if eventually it would catch on and suddenly be offensive. you elbowing elbow, go elbow yourself. i'm gonna rip your elbowing head off your body and elbow down your neck.

i honestly can't see why people in this day and age are offended when you use a "swear word" not in an angry and mean way. saying "sorry i missed your call, i was taking a s*&t" is pretty descriptive, yet for some reason isn't acceptable outside of extremely close company.

as an aside but on the subject...

many (if not all, not sure) asian languages have honorific speech and common "low" speech, depending on who you talk to. when we stupid round-eyes spoke, we would sometimes speak what would be considered "a slap in the face" but we didn't know and we weren't trying to be disrespectful, we were just using the words we knew. they understood and didn't say anything, but we could almost see them cringe.

based off this, we would joke with ourselves about how hilarious it would be if someone only knew gutter language, because that is what they heard and learned, and were giving a briefing to high level people, and with sincere respect and as "honorifically" as possible gave a briefing full of the most vulgar offensive language. to them they are trying to communicate, and they don't realize they are cursing, there is no hatred or maliciousness behind the words. so although it sounds vulgar, can someone be offended?

again, sorry to ramble on....

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 02:45 PM ----------

xris;149588 wrote:
..... If you use them in certain company they mean very little, in others it causes absolute havoc. Why are they so effective?


i wonder the same thing. the only thing i can come up with is...people often seem to look for reasons to be offended. it appears many wake up and think how can i be offended today?" i don't get it either.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:57 pm
@harlequin phil,
Spiffing good post Harlequin. Im glad they do have this fantastic effect, what would do without them. Have you ever worked with certain Irishmen , now they are the experts. I can remember in my youth we made a habit of slightly changing the word to give less offence, fricking plick.
0 Replies
 
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:09 pm
@harlequin phil,
Politeness and Vulgarness (in word) are not so much linguistic things as reflections of culture expressed through language. It is natural for words themselves to change meaning, lose and gain prestige, ameliorate, and prejorate over time. Refer back to this thread -> http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/ethics/8850-pimps.html .

I've worked with languages where there are structured ways to use vulgarity to gain prestige. In fact in certain demographics in English it is common. I've worked with languages where it is outright rude not to refer to a non-stranger with a suffix that directly translates to their gender's genitalia. I've worked with languages who's only word for coitus, in the minds of the few remaining speakers all older than 65,directly translates to F**K. Yet in that language most cuss words have to do with being associated with 'bad medicine'/'black magic'. In certain groups and sub groups in American, and other cultures, Calling someone smart is worse than calling them a Mother F**ker.

The reason why F**K is generally vulgar and copulation is generally not likely has to do with the venue in which it is normally associated. Vulgarity in general has a lot to do with everyday functions of life at their most base/basic. it is in the etymology of the word vulgar. Since the referrent is base but everyday, there must be words to signify it in less a less profane manner. In a semon one might hear fornication, which has a classically condemning sense but not a vular sense. In a scientific journal one might read coitus, which has a de-emotionalizing effect. in normal conversation, one might hear sex, which has gained a frank almost transactional sense. However, there also must be an expression of base instinctual, irrational (or at least non-rational), non-spiritual = vulgar. This expression is vulgar in its classical sense, and in its current expressional sense.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:28 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;169218 wrote:
Politeness and Vulgarness (in word) are not so much linguistic things as reflections of culture expressed through language. It is natural for words themselves to change meaning, lose and gain prestige, ameliorate, and prejorate over time. Refer back to this thread -> http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/ethics/8850-pimps.html .

I've worked with languages where there are structured ways to use vulgarity to gain prestige. In fact in certain demographics in English it is common. I've worked with languages where it is outright rude not to refer to a non-stranger with a suffix that directly translates to their gender's genitalia. I've worked with languages who's only word for coitus, in the minds of the few remaining speakers all older than 65,directly translates to F**K. Yet in that language most cuss words have to do with being associated with 'bad medicine'/'black magic'. In certain groups and sub groups in American, and other cultures, Calling someone smart is worse than calling them a Mother F**ker.

The reason why F**K is generally vulgar and copulation is generally not likely has to do with the venue in which it is normally associated. Vulgarity in general has a lot to do with everyday functions of life at their most base/basic. it is in the etymology of the word vulgar. Since the referrent is base but everyday, there must be words to signify it in less a less profane manner. In a semon one might hear fornication, which has a classically condemning sense but not a vular sense. In a scientific journal one might read coitus, which has a de-emotionalizing effect. in normal conversation, one might hear sex, which has gained a frank almost transactional sense. However, there also must be an expression of base instinctual, irrational (or at least non-rational), non-spiritual = vulgar. This expression is vulgar in its classical sense, and in its current expressional sense.
Yes we know but it does not explain why they are so powerful when used, no other regular descriptive words, convey the same emotive and aggressive reaction.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:31 pm
@xris,
xris;169226 wrote:
Yes we know but it does not explain why they are so powerful when used, no other regular descriptive words, convey the same emotive and aggressive reaction.


The last paragraph of the above response explains it. I could have added. As prestige seeking beings we have an aversion to that which is base, in situations where the base will affect our prestige or our personal ideological sense thereof.
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